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Missouri Fly Fishing Trip 2013

posted on 02/06/2013
Missouri Fly Fishing Trip
It’s January and winter has a firm grip on the North Country where we live in west central Minnesota. Roxanne and I pack up our fly fishing gear and head south to southern Missouri. We arrive in Branson in the middle of the afternoon and stop at River Run Outfitters where we will be staying for a few days. Temperatures are in the 50’s with the sun shining and we are anxious to hit the river and get in some fly fishing yet before sundown. We stock up on some suggested flies from the fly shop along with some pointers on where to start and we gathered up our gear and headed down to the river which was only a few blocks from the fly shop. We were fishing Lake Tanneycomo; it is technically a lake but looks, acts and fishes like a river for all practical purposes. Lake Tanneycomo has both rainbows and browns with predominately rainbows in the upper trophy artificial lure only section up by the dam and flies or artificial lures only are allowed in this section. There is ample access to the top mile or two for anglers, but water levels can fluctuate greatly due to power generation so if you hear the horn sound make sure you have a readily available exit route from river as water levels can come up quickly. We were using 5x leaders and 6x fluorocarbon tippet – they were not generating or releasing any water at the dam so the water levels were down and not a lot of current the flies we were using were #18 midges in pearl and primrose and copper duns fished a couple feet below an indicator and drifted this resulted in 5 rainbows for myself and Roxanne picked up 4. Not bad for our first time on the river and only an hour or two of fishing. The next day was colder with temperatures only in the low 30’s and windy out of the north, so we waited until 1:00 to go out fishing and we went in by the hatchery and walked down to the overlook were there was faster water and more current as the water was still down today with no power generation going on. We were using basically same set up as yesterday. Roxanne tried an epoxy gray sow bug #18 as dropper and was picking up a few trout in the faster water on it. I was using a double midge set-up with the primrose and pearl still the favorite; we caught plenty of fish again this afternoon with most of them coming out of the faster water at the head of the run or right in the riffles. On Tuesday the weather was still cool in the 30’s along with being cloudy and a stiff south wind, we fished with guide Darrell Lundberg from River Run Outfitters today so we could float the entire trophy section of the river in his drift boat. Water levels were up considerable from previous 2 days as they were generating power, we were using various midge patterns with an indicator and were drift fishing. I also did some fishing with a sink tip leader and caught a few fish on a couple of different patterns one being a crackle back and I caught most of the fish while stripping the fly in. Between Roxanne and me we caught about 30 fish today with the biggest a nice 17.5” rainbow on a midge pattern.
On Wednesday we left Branson and travelled east 90 miles into the heart of the Ozarks to stay at River of Life Farm on the North Fork River which is the North Fork of the White River, the section of river that we were staying on is a blue ribbon trout stream and is managed as a wild trout fishery with no stocking taking place, consequently the fly fishing is challenging to say the least. It was sunny and temperatures were in the 50’s so Roxanne and I were put in with a canoe at Kelly’s Ford and we paddled upstream to Rainbow springs where the trout fishery begins due to a large spring bubbling into the river, we were nymph fishing with larger stones, pheasant tails, hares ears and an olive wooly bugger. I did manage to land one rainbow and Roxanne had one on for a short time that got off. It was nice float of 2-3 miles down through the Ozarks and we seen a lot of fish during the float in the rivers crystal clear water, but unfortunately not many willing biters. Thursday was much colder; it was only around 30 degrees for a high along with being cloudy and an east wind. In the morning Roxanne I hiked up to Inspiration Point where we had a magnificent view of the river. I waited until the afternoon to go out fly fishing; Roxanne declined to participate today due to the cold. I started out fishing the riffles down from the resorts boat landing, I was using a double nymph rig with a Pheasant Tail nymph on top with a hares ear or a beadhead prince as the bottom fly or dropper. I managed to hook one rainbow but it got off after a couple of jumps and I also had a couple of more hits but that was it for this area. I moved up river to the falls and fished without as much as a strike here. Due to the constant freezing up of the guides on my rod I gave it up after a couple of hours on the water. On Friday the weather was a lot nicer with sun coming out and getting close to 50 degrees today. Roxanne and I were fishing with Kyle Kosovich who operates Long Boat Outfitters; we floated and fished from rainbow springs down to the falls. Roxanne was using a nymph rig with larger beadhead flies and I was using a sink line with a mohair leech and swinging it downstream while attempting to maintain a tight line. We seen a lot fish especially up by the spring and I caught a beautiful 19” rainbow with a hook jaw on the mohair leech. It was an exceptionally nice day on the water with great weather and good fishing as we landed around 6 rainbows and 2 smallmouth bass and had a few others on that got off. We couldn’t have asked for better ending to our trip, unfortunately we had to head back north the next day and the face the frigid temps again, oh well.
Contact information:
Longboat Outfitters: http://www.longboatoutfitters.com/
River of Life Farm: http://www.riveroflifefarm.com/index.html
River Run Outfitters: http://www.riverrunoutfitters.com/about/

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